How can I figure out what emails are to me and which aren't?


Maybe this is a pref, maybe it’s not… I’ve participated in a few threads by now over the past few weeks, and people have replied to me. However, I have not received those replies via email except for one occasion when the reply included the string @duffy - I see no special headers or indicators in the message that are filterable in a mail client.

Is this by design? My current actual mailing list rules setup tags and prioritizes messages that are to or CC me. Now I know I am missing interactions if I dont log in here and check the discourse web UI - I’m really trying to avoid having yet another notification bucket to check.

TLDR; how can I filter incoming discourse mail so I can prioritize replies to my posts?

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Hmmm. On a mailing list, unless someone CCs you as well, there’s no indication in the headers or subject that the message is a reply to you specifically unless the mail client keeps track of message ids you’ve sent, which I don’t know of any that do. It’s just by convention in quoting in the message body. On a lot of mailing lists like Fedora devel list it’s common to reply to people without CC’ing them explicitly, so if you want to look for that you have to filter on message body contents.

From what I can see, Discourse is setting In-Reply-To: messages properly, so they should be threaded properly in your mail client if your mail client respects that. (I am a diehard mutt user, and it does.) But Discourse does know in a consistent way that someone replied directly to a specific message (whether by email or the web interface), and it seems like it could set headers based on that, or based on whether the email was sent because you are @-mentioned.

(Although: gmail doesn’t even let you set up filters based on arbitrary headers. Just… not an option. So for most email users, such a feature would be useless.)

Thunderbird keeps track of the message ids. If I’ve replied to a thread it gets highlighted. I don’t know if it’s baked in or an add-on though.

The Discourse emails are threading (well, the ones I receive. Your reply, btw, I did not receive in email I can only read on the website.)

Isn’t there a google script thing that lets you filter gmail on arbitrary headers that the kernel folks use?

Yes, it is by design. Discourse has four types of notification settings, shown below:

The default configuration (and so, also ours) is that when you reply to a thread, you are only “tracking” it. This means, by default, you will not get in-browser notifications or emails after you reply to a thread. I think this is way that some communities built around Discourse do things, but it is not very compatible with the Fedora mailing list style of discussion we are used to.

On other Discourse sites I admin, I change these settings to the below equivalents. I have personally found that after I changed these settings on other Discourse sites, it had a dramatic impact on engagement and interaction on new threads:

We have the option to change this setting retroactively for users who have not already made a custom config change. But it might be a disruptive change if we make it abruptly, so we may want to do some messaging and communication before making it.


I’m sold with “I have personally found that after I changed these settings on other Discourse sites, it had a dramatic impact on engagement and interaction on new threads”, so I’m inclined to just change it and then post a note here saying that we did and sticky it for a couple of weeks.

We might want to adjust the “global default condition for which a topic is considered new” down as we get more posts. Two weeks could be a lot when we get to having dozens of posts a day (outside of the Copr category, which already has that due to automation).

:grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: To add some harder data to my claims, I tried these settings out on the Sustain OSS Discourse forum and the Open Source Diversity Discourse forum. The “dramatic” impact was relative to each forum, but I definitely noticed an increase in number of replies (especially from people who already replied once) in threads after I changed this option on those forums.

It might not be the Discourse default way of working, but I think this way works much more comfortably for people coming from mailing lists.

+1. Both sites I mentioned above have way less activity than we do here. I think a smaller interval for Fedora Discussion makes sense too.

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